In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive on each player projected to be on the opening night roster. This installment of the series focuses on Kole Lind, who the Kraken selected from the Vancouver Canucks.
2020-21 Team: Vancouver Canucks
2020-21 Season: 7 Games Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points
Type of Acquisition: Expansion Draft
A Former Second-Round Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Lind made his entrance into the NHL when he was selected 33rd overall by the Canucks at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Hailing from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, NHL Central Scouting ranked him as the 23rd-best North American skater and fourth-best right wing available in the draft. He played the entirety of his four-year major junior career with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Kelowna Rockets, finishing with an impressive 224 points (83 goals, 141 assists) in 204 games. From there, he went on to play four seasons with the Canucks’ American Hockey League (AH) affiliate Utica Comets. Last season, he got his first opportunity in the NHL, playing in seven games for Vancouver. Currently on the verge of becoming an NHL mainstay, it appears the Kraken have nabbed Lind from the Canucks at the perfect time in his development path.
Four Seasons of Success With AHL’s Utica Comets
Lind has proven himself in the AHL with 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) in 126 games for the Comets. Last season, which was shortened due to COVID-19 and a broken nose he suffered on March 3, 2021, he tallied eight points (five goals, three assists) in eight games, making it the first time he’s been a point-per-game player at the professional level. In 2019-20, he recorded an AHL career-high 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 61 games.
His steady performance with Utica landed him a spot on the Canucks’ taxi squad on April 1, 2021, following medical clearance for his broken nose. His NHL debut came as a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 29, 2021. Although he went pointless through his seven games with Vancouver, there is no need for Kraken fans to worry about his future in the league. At 22 years old, he still has time to flourish into a full-time NHL player. If he continues on the trajectory he was on with the Comets, the future looks bright for Lind.
Lind Locked in With the Kraken on a One-Year Contract
On Aug. 6, 2021, Lind accepted his qualifying offer from the Kraken, locking him in on a one-year, two-way deal worth $874,125 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL. He will become a restricted free agent at the end of his contract. His new deal is a slight downgrade from his entry-level contract, which paid him a $891,666 average annual value at the NHL level.
If Lind gets another chance in the NHL this season, he will have the opportunity to increase his value in hopes of earning a better contract next season and establish himself as a regular on the Kraken roster, most likely in a bottom-six forward role. If he makes a strong impression and earns his place on the team, it will surely add some more fuel to the Kraken vs. Canucks rivalry as well.
Lind will likely see his first action in a Kraken uniform against his former Canucks on Sept. 26 in Spokane, Washington, where Seattle will play its first-ever preseason game. It’ll be a must-watch game for Kraken fans as the long-anticipated rivalry with their neighbor team to the north begins. If Lind puts together an impressive performance, its sure to sting some Vancouver fans who lost one of their top prospects to Seattle. We’ll find out soon what he has in store.
Tom Pepper hosts The Hockey Writers Podcast every weekday (Monday to Friday) and writes the daily “NHL Talk” and “NHL Sound Bites” columns. He is a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan in Toronto, frequently driving the Queen Elizabeth Way to cheer on his team at KeyBank Center. He also supports the Seattle Kraken as his team in the West.